Wordless Wednesday #52 - My favorites of a Wordless Year

>> Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This week marks a year of my participation in Wordless Wednesday.

In honor of that I'm going to be not so wordless and repost a few of my favorites. These are the shots I'm almost shocked that I actually took myself.

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The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

>> Tuesday, September 28, 2010


The House on Tradd Street by Karen White

Genre: Fiction
Series: #1 in the Tradd Street series
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 329
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #38
Source: Library


The Short Version:
A little bit of romance, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of ghost story, a little bit of historical fiction all set in Charleston, South Carolina (one of my favorite cities).

Why I Read It:
This book has been on my TBR list for almost two years but it seemed like everyone I knew was reading and posting about it so I decided to wait. The time finally seemed right so I checked it out from the library.

The Book
Melanie Middleton is a no-nonsense realtor in Charleston, SC. Her specialty is historic homes even though she doesn’t like them herself. When you can see ghosts, hanging around historic places can be disconcerting. When Melanie visits Nevin Vanderhorst about the possibility of listing his historic Charleston home, he’s not willing to commit, but hints to Melanie that he might be interested.

When Mr. Vanderhorst suddenly dies, Melanie finds herself the unwilling owner of the Vanderhorst home on Tradd Street and bound by the terms of the will to restore it and live in it for a year. Along with the home, Melanie has inherited a mystery of what happened to Mr. Vanderhorst’s mother and did she really abandon him as a child to run off with a lover? Perhaps there’s another reason she disappeared?

When Jack Trenholm offers to help Melanie manage the restoration project he has his own agenda. He wants to write his next book about the disappearance of Louisa Vanderhorst and hopes to find the answers to that mystery and others as they undertake the restoration of the house.

The many secrets of the house are both guarded and shared by the ghosts that Melanie can see, and the front door is actually a bit of an entertaining character all by itself.

My Thoughts:
I have a predisposition to like books set in Charleston. My brother was stationed there for several years when he was in the navy and I was in college. My mom also lived there for a short time so it’s a city I visited several times and enjoy tremendously. It’s a beautiful historic city and I’d love to get back there for a visit some day.

I liked this book because it wasn’t all any one genre. There’s a bit of historic fiction and ghost story wrapped up in a modern day mystery and a bit of romantic comedy as well.

While I enjoyed the book, there were plenty of unrealistic coincidences and things that were sort of built up, but left hanging. I’m not sure why the golf obsession of the occasionally appearing receptionist was even part of the story, and Melanie was the kind of main character that I wanted to slap occasionally, but all in all it’s a book that I could just ‘go with the flow’ and enjoy. I do plan on reading the next in this series (The Girl on Legare Street) as well as Karen White’s newest (On Folly Beach). As I said, I have a hard time resisting books set in Charleston.



Rating 4/5

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Division of Labor – Clearly the To Be Read list is my job

>> Friday, September 24, 2010

Obviously, in any marriage, some responsibilities are shared and some tend to become the duty of one spouse more than the other.



Clearly in our marriage, he’s in charge of the yard and I’m in charge of the To Be Read list. Proof of this came earlier this week when The Hubster was heading home from a business trip to Washington, D.C.

The text message I received read:
I’m in Chicago. I also finished reading Mockingjay. Is there any book you can think of that I can buy that we both want to read?

Is it any wonder that I love this man?

He likes to tell people that while he likes to read and enjoys books, he doesn’t spend a lot of time reading nor does he read fast. He says “My wife reads two books a week, and I read about a book a month.” He says that I screen the books first and all he has to do when he needs a new book is pick one off the stack I have left on his dresser. We’ve always had similar reading tastes. I remember when we were first dating and I went to his apartment for the first time. Of course I headed straight to the bookshelf and found many familiar books and authors there. I knew then that this was a relationship that had some possibilities. Obviously I was right. How do singles with ereaders sneak a look at the reading habits of the person they're dating?

Our reading list is pretty much managed by me. There are many series and authors that we both like and those are the books I tend to buy. If I know it’s something he won’t read, I’m more likely to get it from the library. When I finish a book that I think he’ll like or is in a series we both read I just add it to the stack on his dresser and he’ll just browse there when he’s ready to start a new book. He never has to pay attention to which is next in a series because I’m the keeper of the book list and he can check with me.

I had to laugh at his text message the other day, though. I pulled up my TBR spreadsheet and gave him three possible choices from series for the next book we needed.

He picked up a copy of Persuader by Lee Child and all was good. For a change of pace, he gets to read a book before I do.

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Wordless Wednesday #51

>> Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (built 1871)
Newport, Oregon



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For more about Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, see this link.


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I'm on Scene of the Blog today

A few weeks ago Cathy from Kittling: Books emailed to ask if I would be interested in participating in her weekly blog feature, Scene of the Blog.



After my initial reaction (panic and an inclination to run and hide) I realized that since Scene of the Blog is one of my very favorite regular features that it would actually be pretty cool to participate.

So - if you have any desire at all to see from whence my whimpulsiveness comes, go on over to Cathy's Blog by clicking on the Scene of the Blog photo above to check out the photos.  While you're there take a look around at the rest of Cathy's blog.  It's a treasure trove, particularly for mystery fans.

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Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

>> Tuesday, September 21, 2010



Still Missing by Chevy Stevens


Genre: Suspense / Psychological Thriller
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 340
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #39
Source: Library




The Short Version:
Annie O’Sullivan tells the story of her past year to her therapist, but it’s a year worth telling that includes her abduction, terror, pain and her attempts at recovery and justice.

Why I Read It:
It was Joy’s review at Thoughts of Joy that made me add this to my TBR list. When she gets this excited about a debut thriller, I know I need to read it.

The Book:
The story is told by Annie in a series of sessions with her therapist. She begins with how she was abducted as she was closing up an Open House for the day. As she tells the story of her abduction and captivity she also deals with her present day circumstances of attempting to recover from the trauma and hoping that the investigation will determine who it was that abducted her and why.

Telling much more of the plot than this would be giving away information that I think readers shouldn’t know ahead of time.

My Thoughts:
I agree with Joy. This was a very good debut by Chevy Stevens. It’s a thrilling and terrifying suspenseful story. Despite the fact that I knew Annie survived her ordeal, the suspense of her captivity was still there. Another reason the story remained suspenseful was that in addition to telling her therapist about the events of the past year, Annie is also telling the story of her continued terror and post traumatic stress. Still not knowing the identity of her abductor and why she was held captive, Annie is home but still a captive to her fears and uncertainties.

Stalked by the media, unsure of her relationships with her friends and former boyfriend, she doesn’t have many reliable people to lean on. Her relationship with her mother has been rocky and troubled for years so that’s not exactly a source of strength and stability either. Her only reliable shoulders are her dog and her therapist and perhaps the sergeant handling the investigation.

Annie’s fear comes through clearly as she talks to her therapist, but what also comes through is the psychological torture and damage she has suffered due to her captivity and the unspeakable violence she suffered. She seems to want to recover, but is at a loss as to how to do that.


Rating 4.5/5

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Harm’s Way by Stephen White

>> Monday, September 20, 2010


Harm’s Way by Stephen White

Genre: Mystery
Series: #4 in the Dr. Alan Gregory series
Publication Date: 1996
Pages: 336
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #38
Source: Library


The Short Version:
Psychologist Alan Gregory is asked to help profile a killer, but the twist is that the victim was a friend and neighbor of Dr. Gregory.

Why I Read It:
This series featuring a Colorado psychologist is an interesting blend of psychological mystery and crime fiction. It’s one of those series I pick up about once a year.

The Book
When Detective Sam Purdy shows up at Alan Gregory’s house the first news is that a friend and neighbor of Alan’s has been brutally murdered. The second bit of news is that Detective Purdy wants Alan to participate in the investigation as a profiler because this murder may be connected to a similar killing in Denver and the police are wondering if they’ve got a serial killer on their hands.

Alan is reluctant because of his connection to the victim, but when it becomes clear that he didn’t know his friend nearly as well as he thought he did, he changes his mind.

The story becomes one of finding out about his friend’s past as much as about finding his killer. Alan has to confront some secrets he’d rather not know before it’s all over.

My Thoughts:
I enjoy this series and find it’s one I return to about once a year or so. I enjoy the blend of crime fiction and psychological thriller. Alan has become friendlier with Detective Purdy over the course of the series. Their friendship/working relationship is still rather prickly, but it’s developing into a mutual respect.

One thing I’ve enjoyed about this series is that each book is different enough to feel not quite formulaic. The investigations that Alan becomes involved in are varied enough to maintain my interest. Yes there’s some of the psychologist (or any other non law enforcement person) playing amateur investigator clichés. You know at some point Alan is going to do something stupid to put himself in danger.

The mystery itself in this one was a two parter for me. I figured out fairly early on who was involved in the killing, so while the whodunit portion of the story wasn’t much of a surprise, the how and why as well as how they will be caught parts held my interest.



Rating 3/5

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Hangin' With Howie

>> Sunday, September 19, 2010

What do you have there?

Is that chicken?

It looks like chicken.

Did you know I'm fond of chicken?


I like chicken.

If I had a Facebook account I'd "Friend" chicken.









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Book Blogger Appreciation Week – Forgotten Treasure

>> Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week has been busy. It may take me weeks to get caught up with the book blogs in my Google reader, but it’s fun. This year’s theme of “A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs” is great.


Today’s topic is Forgotten Treasure, and is one I’ve been looking forward to ever since I saw the daily topics. I get to talk about a book that I wish would get more attention from book bloggers or may have been under marketed.

This was an easy choice for me. When I read Eli the Good by Silas House last year I wanted to convince as many other book bloggers as I could to read it. I also mentioned it often as one of my favorite books of the year. Nearly a year later the characters and the story are still with me.

Now I have the chance to try again to get you to read this gem of a book. There are still only a handful of reviews listed in the Book Blogger Search Engine so if you’re reading this you probably haven’t read Eli’s story yet. The paperback edition due out next February now is your chance to get this book on your To Be Read list.

Rather than a link I’m just going to repost my comments about Eli the Good from when I read it last December.

I’m so very glad I paid attention when my bookseller friend mentioned that she was reading this book. It’s just wrapped itself around my heart. Eli and his family will stay with me for a while.

It’s the summer of 1976. Eli Book is ten years old and it seems that his family may be coming apart at the seams. His Vietnam vet dad is having horrible nightmares. His mom seems distant. His 16 year old sister is defying her parents. His very best friend is hurting because her parents are divorcing. His aunt who was a protester of the war her brother fought in is staying with them. Eli is an observer of people and of nature. He eavesdrops on conversations and finds himself knowing things he probably shouldn’t.

I liked Eli. I wanted to grab Eli and wrap him up in a big hug. Then I wanted to hug the rest of his family and his friend Edie too. The story is written as if the adult Eli is writing about that fateful summer. His observations are almost poetic at times, but as he’s watching his family and best friend and their conflicts there is also a deep sense of love in the way he tells the story of how he struggled to understand what was happening. There is also music. The songs that are mentioned throughout the book create a soundtrack to the story. This is the soundtrack of my life. I was a teenager in 1976 so almost all the songs are well known to me and carry their own memories and emotions as they underscore Eli’s story.

If I hadn’t known this book was shelved in the Young Adult section, I’m not sure I would have classified it as a YA novel. Perhaps that’s because I can so easily place myself in and around Eli’s story. While reading about that summer, I remembered the music, the TV shows, my friends who’s Dads or older brothers had served in Vietnam and the struggles they had as well as so many other things about that time that were there as casual parts of the story. I think many people in my generation might feel the same way about this book. I’m not so sure how it would be for someone much younger than I am.

I loved the writing. I’ve never read any of Silas House’s other books, but I will look for them now. He has a way of writing about both people and nature that paints images as well as emotions. There were far too many quotes I could have marked or written down.

This is a book I can heartily recommend.


Rating 5/5

I had really hoped to see more reviews of Eli the Good from other bloggers but perhaps it got lost in the end of the year rush. Although it’s listed as a Young Adult book I strongly feel that it is a book for adults as well. I think in particular folks like me, who were teenagers in the 70’s will find much in this book that brings back memories.

I know that the War through the Generations reading challenge is focusing on the Vietnam War this year and Eli the Good is an excellent choice if you are participating in that challenge. The war, the protests and the aftermath for families is beautifully expressed in this book. But it’s not just about the Vietnam War. It’s about family, love and changing times.

I read a library copy but plan to buy the paperback when it’s released so that I can read it again.

It’s a book that will touch your heart.

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Wordless Wednesday #50

>> Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stories.  This could tell such stories.




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Book Blogger Appreciation Week – Unexpected Treasure

Book Blogger Appreciation Week continues and the buzz is building and my Google Reader is exploding.  



The daily posting theme this year is “A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs”.  For today’s Unexpected Treasure, the topic is sharing a book or genre I tried due to the influence of another blogger.  What made me cave in to try something new and what was the experience like.

I’m not going to talk about a specific book but more about a classification and a few genres within that classification.  In the past year I’ve read far more Young Adult books than I think I read as a young adult. Most of the YA books I’ve read in the past year have been speculative fiction (dystopian, supernatural or post-apocalyptic).  

What made me cave in and try this type of book?  I can answer that question in one word: TWEERPRESSURE.  That’s what happens when a conversation among book bloggers on Twitter about a book or series makes me head to the library or Powell’s website and start browsing and adding to my To Be Read list.  

Granted not all of my ventures into Young Adult speculative fiction have been rousing successes, but I have found many enjoyable surprises.

It was actually The Hunger Games that got me started.  I read that last spring only because so many of my blogger friends read and recommended it. From there I was led to The Tomorrow Series by John Marsden which I have thoroughly enjoyed and want to get to the fourth book in that series soon .  Some of the paranormal stories have been enjoyable but not necessarily favorites (Ruined by Paula Morris and Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble).

I’ve had a few less than successful reads due to Tweerpressure. I didn’t love The Forest of Hands and Teeth nearly as much as many of my blogging friends (clearly I’m not a zombie fan).  The Uglies series showed promise (loved the first one), but I wasn’t interested in continuing after reading the second.  Beautiful Creatures was fine, but not something that has me craving the second book.

I think what I learned is that I tend to like the dystopian or post-apocalyptic stuff in the young adult classification more than the paranormal stuff, but that makes sense because I don't read that much paranormal adult fiction either.


For me, the book blogging community is truly “A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs”.

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5th Horseman by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

>> Tuesday, September 14, 2010



5th Horseman by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro


Genre: Mystery
Series: #5 in the Women’s Murder Club series
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 428
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #37
Source: Library ebook



The Short Version:
One serial killer hunt and one investigation that seems to be pointing to a possibly evil doctor keep the four members of San Francisco’s Women’s Murder Club busy.

Why I Read It:
It’s been a while since I read a book from this series. I’d been a little disappointed in the 4th book and maybe that’s why I put this one off.


The Book:
At a San Francisco hospital patients who seem to be on the road to recovery keep dying suddenly and are found with distinctive coins on their eyes. Journalist Cindy Thomas is working the story of the negligence lawsuit against the hospital. When her friend Yuki’s mother is admitted to the hospital, Cindy wonders if there is cause for concern.

At the same time Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer and Medical Examiner Claire Washburn are both involved in investigating what appears to be a serial killer preying on young blond women and leaving their bodies posed in abandoned cars.

These four friends are soon deeply involved in both of these cases. Will the police find and stop the killer of the so called ‘car girls”? Is the hospital guilty of negligence or is there something more sinister going on and is there a killer masquerading as a healer. Is Yuki’s mother in danger?

My Thoughts:
After having been somewhat disappointed in the 4th book in this series, I was happy to see all the friends involved in this one. The two stories were both interesting and allowed all of the main characters to be involved. I think that’s what I didn’t like about the previous book. It was too much Lindsay and not enough of the rest of the group.

This was a typical Patterson, short chapter, fast paced, quick reading book. It’s a series I enjoy and probably won’t wait so long before I pick up the sixth book.


Rating 3/5

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week – First Treasure

>> Monday, September 13, 2010

Hi folks! It’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week and now that the awards nonsense is out of the way we’re getting on with my favorite part of this week, the appreciation part. It’s all about the good stuff in the book blogging community and why I enjoy being a part of it.



This week there are daily topics and while I won’t be participating in all of them I will be posting about the topic of the day for most of this week.

The theme this year is “A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs”.



For today’s First Treasure, the topic is what great book blog have I discovered since last year’s BBAW.

This was actually pretty hard for me because almost all of the book blogs I read regularly are blogs I’ve been following for a long time. I have a few that I’ve added to my Google Reader in the past year and even among those, it was hard to pick only one.

The blogger I want to highlight today is Lisa at The Little Reader.

I started reading her blog sometime this past winter, most likely after I met and started chatting with her on Twitter. I enjoy reading her reviews and other posts. I love that she reads a variety of genres and types of books. Although we don’t always agree about individual books, I’ve come to respect her opinion and take her recommendations seriously. If you’re looking for interesting and entertaining reviews of an eclectic mix of book – please subscribe to The Little Reader. You won’t be sorry.

I attempted to join Lisa for a readalong earlier this year, but I failed miserably. She, on the other hand, did not. She totally rocked the readalong thing and now hosts regularly scheduled Little Readalongs. If you’re interested please check in and join in for one (or more) and cast your vote for upcoming readalong choices.




I’m so glad Lisa has joined the book blogging community – keep up the fantastic blogging, Lisa!

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Audiobook - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

>> Friday, September 10, 2010


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Audio)

Genre: Fiction
Series: #6 in the Harry Potter series
Publication Date: 2005
Read by: Jim Dale
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #36
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Harry’s sixth year at Hogwart’s is complicated both in class and out as he faces new dangers and learns more about Voldemort’s history.

Why I Read It:
Obviously I didn’t finish listening to this entire series before the Harry Potter Reading Challenge ended, but I didn’t care and wanted to finish listening to them back to back.

The Book:
As I’ve said before on the re-read via audio posts, I’m not going to bother with any kind of plot summary. By now you either know it or you don’t want to know.

My Thoughts:
There was so much in this installment of the series. Harry’s mysterious potion book that used to belong to the Half-blood Prince is a source of intrigue not only for what it contains, but also for the mystery of its original owner. The kids are old enough that the normal on and off teenage relationships are a normal part of everything and have some expected and also sometimes humorous complications. The resurgence of Voldemort and his Death Eaters is finally out in the open and there are potentially deadly consequences at nearly every turn.

My favorite part of this book however was the way that Voldemort’s own history was revealed to Harry via the memories Dumbledore shows him in the pensieve. Their travels through the past together in Dumbledore’s own memories as well as those from others are fascinating.

The first time I read it I had a hard time believing that the events at the end really happened and had to back up and reread. Listening to the audio had me a teensy bit weepy.

I can only continue to recommend the audio versions as a great way to re-experience this series and listening to them back to back has been great fun.


Rating 5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #49

>> Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Well hello there, little bug


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31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

>> Tuesday, September 7, 2010



31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan


Genre: Historical Fiction / Crime Fiction
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 307
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #35
Source: Library ebook




The Short Version:
Interesting combination of historical fiction and crime/legal fiction set in 1857 New York and all based on a real crime.

Why I Read It:
It was Wendy's review at Caribousmom that made me put this book on my library wish list. I trust Wendy’s recommendations and she didn’t miss the mark with this one.


The Book:
In 1857 New York a dentist by the name of Harvey Burdell is found brutally murdered in his own home. The police immediately suspect his tenant and household manager Emma Cunningham. The case becomes a media circus and is billed by the press as the ‘crime of the century’.

The book follows the investigation and trial from the point of the discovery of Dr. Burdell’s body. Interspersed are flashbacks of Emma Cunningham’s past from before she met Dr. Burdell through their relationship and up to the night of his murder.

Harvey Clinton is hired as Mrs. Cunningham’s defense attorney and his side of the story is the preparation of her defense and his point of view throughout the trial and afterwards.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a wonderful blend of two of my favorite genres. Putting a legal crime story in a wonderful rendering of pre Civil War New York made for an entertaining and thrilling read. Although this is based on a true story I haven’t yet read the real events. I didn’t want to know before I read the book and wrote this review, but I will be reading up on the true details soon.

Horan does a wonderful job of creating the story and the setting. I felt like I could picture the house and places around New York. The political and media wrangling really show that not all that much has changed and that some of the things that annoy me about modern media and news reporting have existed in similar form for a long time. Mrs. Cunningham’s situation was definitely complicated by the limited legal and financial power of women in that era and in some ways put her in the mess in which she found herself.

I really liked Harvey Clinton and his team. His wife Elizabeth provided an important contrast to Emma Cunningham. Elizabeth was able to help her husband and use her intelligence but Emma was fairly powerless without a man.

All in all I can definitely recommend this to fans of crime stories and historical fiction. Next up for me is reading up on the true story of Dr. Burdell’s murder.


Rating 4.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #48

>> Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Underneath the St. Johns Bridge
Portland, Oregon
(obviously Cathedral Park is a perfect name for it)



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